Eldercare Mediation and/or Guardianship professionals aka a guardian ad litem can be either court ordered or privately hired. Their purpose is to provide a neutral third party to resolve conflicts and facilitate harmony in families regarding the care of a senior. Often times you can get the help you need minus the high fees, and avoiding the court system. If appointed by the court, the guardian ad litem will represent the best interest of the senior in a case in superior court, if they become a ward of the state.
Mediators and Guardians ad litem help to resolve issues like guardianship or conservatorship without having to deal with a judge or legal battle. Their primary goal is to find solutions in senior care and management that families may not be aware of. This includes:
- Working collaboratively with legal and financial professionals.
- Remaining neutral, and thus can be an advocate for the entire family
- Being well versed in the laws in their state that oversee the health and wellness of a senior, and in many cases, will hold a law degree.
- Allowing all family members to express themselves and their perspective in their parent’s care.
- Working on creative solutions that may lie outside of the judicial process.
- Creating more of a loving environment, sensitive to the emotional needs of each party.
- Providing resources in many areas including living situations, financial and legal professionals, and transition specialists.
- Working directly with the senior to help them make financial and legal decisions without involving family members.
Whereas an Elder Law Attorney will always represent the senior, a Mediator or guardian ad litem remains neutral, and thus can be an advocate for the entire family.
They should be well versed in the laws in their state that oversee the health and wellness of a senior- and in many cases will hold a law degree. Because mediation takes place outside of a legal setting, it is much less formal, and an easier process for families to adapt.
- Make sure all parties in the family understand what an elder mediator will do. The family must agree to all work in conjunction with a non-partial mediator.
- Is there a financial Power of Attorney in place, and is it active?
- Do you have access to all financial aspects of your senior loved one?
- Make sure you understand the medical prognosis and overall health report of your senior.
- Check their website and Google their names to uncover any information on them that may be a contributing factor in your decision to hire them.
Before hiring a mediator, the following questions need to be asked. Mediators mostly work on an hourly rate, however there may be some discrepancy in how this is accrued. Make sure you understand completely how they work:
- What is your process in helping families? How do you work?
- What are your fees? How are they accrued?
- Do you work with legal and financial professionals?
- What are your credentials in eldercare management?
- Do you charge for travel time, and outside hours such as research?
- What degrees do you and your team currently hold; as well as your areas of expertise?